Saturday, December 20, 2008

Email text or images - conversion rates?

I was just reminded of a case study put out originally by Marketing Sherpa it revolves around a solution to overcome the default setting of most Email clients to block images when you send an email.

The normal wisdom is to send a text version with a graphics version, but this example demonstrate a middle approach which is great, and as such should definitely be included here as a top tip.

So the classic solution is to send an email with the two versions, the text version and the graphics version. The bad news is that the majority of readers will plump for the graphics version and then not show the images. doh! What happens is that when your email client plumps for the graphic version it shows the alt tags. This is just bad. Alt attributes on the images should be used to describe the offers and give reasons to click (best practice). But it still looks bad...

The simple solution is to apply some basic html color coding of the background. So you design up an email to send and instead of creating 100% graphics - you will want your logo to show and one or two other bits - but what about the headline - the call to action?

No doubt your email will be using a simple basic table layout the graphics, so you decide that your main headline will fit within a specific cell in the table and you set the background to a contrasting colour. You do the same for the text in the cell and no matter what happens, all consumers will see your offer and it will look as good as it can with graphics turned off and the effect will be invisible when graphics are turned on. Thus ensuring that either way you get your message across.


Impact on Email response rates

Tests show that implementing a tinted background with text can have a major impact. The details are as follows:

* visible Red-brown color box that measured 441 pixels by 400 pixels
* “Limited Time Offer” (font size -- 49 pixels)
* “Free Shipping” (57 pixels)
* “Ends 10-31-07” (35 pixels)
* “Start Now” button (18 pixels)
* “Free Shipping available on orders over $99 to a single destination within the U.S.” (15 pixels)

According to Marketing Sherpa report the uplift in campaign results from switching to prominent text on a background colour was:

* Deliverability 10.1% higher
(care needs to be taken with large fonts which can be a SPAM signal).
* Open rate rose 28.6%
* Clickthrough rate jumped 83.4%
* Revenue skyrocketed 379.3%

An additional top tip that should increase conversion rates would include a list of other offers / departments at the bottom of the email - theses should be very short, factual and not special offer / price discount led.

Friday, December 19, 2008

email marketing is extremely cost effective

It’s a fact; email marketing works incredibly well - and costs little or nothing!

You need a list
The easy way is to buy one, but really you do not know how good that list is until afterwards and you might upset a few people. I would avoid that route unless you can find a really good supplier, someone you can trust. I do know a few that are good, so please let us know if you are looking and I will put you in touch, no problem.

How to build the best list money can't buy
However, if you build your own email database (mailing list) then you will probably get to where you want to be more quickly... Literally, the best way to get started is to ask your existing clients, contacts, colleagues and alumni if you can have their email address and if it’s ok for you to email them occasionally with news or special offers. The key is to ask their permission!

Ask people to opt-in
You also need to get people joining your email list from your website. To do this, make it as easy as possible, (like the sign-up box on our website), and offer something of value as an incentive for them to join your mailing list (we offer a free white paper). Also, only ask for their email address - nothing more. Every additional thing that people have to think about will reduce the number of sign ups - don't do it - let them give you more information when they are ready. When you do take their email address, you must let them know that you will never, ever pass on their details.

It is all about care and integrity.
Only send people valuable information (like our white paper) or a genuinely special offer. We strongly recommend that you only send one message every week or 14 days - don't bombard people. We send out a key information rich case study every 14 days. As a result, very few people ask to be removed from my subscriber list and many call in and turn into clients.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Email Etiquette

I just read a article on Connect IT News - and was reminded of some basics of Email, that are as much about marketing basics as they are about internal office Emails and Client Management Emails.

I have to say the simple insights this article covers are essential. I particularly relate the second item - the failure to use the subject line of an email... Usually when subject line is empty - especially if I know the sender - the delay is like a silent protest! I am just not keen to open the email as I know I will have to then spend time trying and work out what the hell is going on. I literally find it impolite for someone to send me an email without a subject line. As bad habits go, imagine how customers feel when they receive emails from someone who cannot be bothered to fill in the subject line. I always think of the subject line as the tag that sells the email - to encourage the recipient to read the email.

Point 6 - my addition! Lack of facts. Now I know I often forget names but I do try and relate an email to a set of facts and generally ensure that all the pertinent facts are in the email - like a phone number, or an amount, or whatever it is that the person writes to me wants me to do.

This lot said, the overall quality of emails from our team are pretty good. However, just one email without a subject and without the complete facts are time wasting emails - it saves all our time to get them right in the first place and it helps keep clients and colleagues happy - simply to do what we are asking them to do.

I think I will make this the subject of a blog post...

I think it would help us all to forward the link above and to spread the news on email etiquette - here it is again: Connect IT News

The article is not just about etiquette, it also provides useful insights on data protection and suggests team and system strategies to avoid problems - Expect to be unlucky. Don't rely on luck!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Watch your language!

The language you use is in your email marketing is key. If you make your emails benefits led and not sales led you will gain more respect - and more response. It is uncommon that you would buy directly off an email. Sales led emails find it difficult to avoid ending up in price discount offers, whereas benefits led communications ends up in sales and communications. If you leave the price out, you can start talking to your customers to more effect.

Too many marketers bombard their potential customers with 'buy now' cliche's as opposed to intelligent benefit led propositions that combine to make mouth watering offers. Readers cannot resist to click for more information if your story telling skills are working to their best.

Focus on core benefits

Due to the interactive nature of Email marketing, it is possible to focus on one group of closely related benefits. With email you can directly relate to potential consumer needs rather than blasting an entire product range, hoping for the best.

Get Engaged

By focussing on individual core product and service areas, you have the opportunity to express your unique selling points. By intelligently engaging with your audience, your communication life cycle is longer and your chances of making direct sales improved.

Email marketing is a two way street. If you receive emails from consumers you must respond, failure to do so can result in loss of market share and damaged reputation.

If it is you who initiates emails, it is also you who can stop initiating further emails if it gets too busy - remember it is your email campaign and you can change it, just be nice about it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Email Marketing top tips Welcome

Email Marketing top tips from the Weboptimiser Group.

We service clients around the world. Whilst specialising in Search Engine Marketing, we developed our expertise to cover other Media areas including Social Media and made specific investments in Email Marketing, some three years ago. Whilst our routes and key expertise are in Search Engine Optimisation, since '96, we have found that Email Marketing is a key component of Social Media, Search engine and vital for all types of digital media.

It may not be surprising that our business, experience and our client portfolio continue to expand. Nowadays we cover more media: Email, Video, Mobile and interactive TV. Added to these technologies we add techniques for social media focussing on audience communication - essential for all brands at all stages in their lives.

If you were wondering why we do what we do... we have come to the point of realising that we like where people are going. Over these formative years we have been lucky enough to work out that we are quite good at making things work, and we have assembled a great client base that love working with us as much as we love working with them.

So, a big thanks for visiting, we hope that you enjoy this Email Marketing top tips blog. If you are looking to employ Email, SEO, PPC, Video or other Social Media Services, please visit the Weboptimiser web site.